Okay. I'm getting old, and I don't like the side effects. Life isn't what it was when I wore the clothes of a much younger man. It isn't just that the clothes are tighter-though they are. It is that I work out nearly everyday, and I still am having trouble in my personal war against the battle of the bulge. In addition, it seems that the more crunches I do, the more difficult it is to declare victory over the terrorism of gaining weight. However, it is a lot more than merely unwanted poundage that is causing me to be out of sorts with aging.

I'm starting to transition into looking like Andy Rooney. As the hair on my head starts to recede from my forehead and the ozone-like hairless hole in the back of my head increases at an alarming rate, I have noticed that not all my hair follicles have become dysfunctional. My eyebrows are getting bushier. If Melissa, my beautician, doesn't attend to them on an increasingly more frequent basis, I'd start to look like the venerable Mr. Rooney. It is bad enough to be losing hair, but why the uncontrolled growth spurts above my eyes? If I don't do something soon, I will go beyond the Rooney look and move toward looking more like Mr. Potato Head.

Speaking of my eyes, they are not as keen as they once were. My chiropractor has to work on my stiff neck, because I tilt my head back to read things through my bifocals. Whether I am in front of my computer or in the pasta section of my grocery store, I have to read through the bottom of my glasses. It is disgusting; I look like some senior citizen who can't see.

Then there is the issue of aches and pains. When I get in and out of my car, I do it with the grace and ease of John Glenn entering or exiting the "Friendship 7" space capsule. My wife claims that I make strange and anguished sounds during the process. I'm not certain that her accusation is correct, because I'm in so much discomfort to take notice.

As I age ungracefully, I have also noticed that I have far less patience for dumb stuff. For example, television in its attempt to attract a younger audience has gone to an MTV-style in nearly everything. Even the news has gone to Gen-X. What was wrong with presenting the news like Walter Cronkite or Chet Huntley? Cable newscasts look and sound like a sports bar with sound effects blasting in the background. The screen explodes with graphics: "America Waging War" or "Terrorism Today in Toledo" with discordant sounds. The cable news people must have picked up some unemployed sound and graphic people from Hollywood. The news is horrific enough nowadays; it doesn't have to be accentuated with sounds and sights.

As for the content, cable news channels fill in their time on slow news days with a bunch of talking heads that are supposed experts. When I as a non-expert know as much as they do, I wonder about the dumbing-up of news and analysis. Why can't I just get the news worth watching? Even the morning cable news programs are looking more like late night talk shows.

Even TV commercials annoy me. The advertisements that suggest that you talk to your doctor about a prescription confused and sickened me. Often, I don't even know what the prescription is intended to do. To make matters worse, after listening to the side effects, I'd rather take my chances with the illness than deal with the potential complications. Then I'm confronted by some guy who is taking several drugs and wasn't aware that there could be a drug interaction. Come on. Still waiting for the program to resume, some guy is trying to sell me a cell phone, airtime, or something. He tells us to come in and talk, which sounds like he is coming on to the viewers. The one commercial that drives me absolutely nutty is for an Internet provider announcing the virtues and sheer joy of getting e-mail. Getting e-mails isn't my problem; it's stopping the spamming of my e-mail address. And that is another thing: I get e-mails touting the virtues of Viagra. Hey, who has been telling the world that I need a little help? I don't, but you wouldn't know it from by delete file.

Now, before you e-mail me about being just an old grumpy curmudgeon, I do like some commercials. The computer company, which employs the cow and a James Taylor look-a-like, has great advertisements. Actually, this article was composed on that company's computer. So, if advertisers want my money, they will have to tone it down and get real with the real world. Not everyone is still using acne-medicated cream.